I know that branding + law firms has always been a tough sell. But branding + consumer products is BIG business. Corporations, retailers, clothing manufacturers, restaurant chains, food & beverage manufacturers, sports franchises will spend billions of dollars developing and defending their brands … and they spend a lot of that money hiring lawyers to trademark, patent, purchase, defend and build those brands. So I had to chuckle when I read David Lat’s post Day Pitney Lawyers: No Coke for You! What would your firm do to snag a client?
Switching sodas to support a client seems a bit… silly. And, given Pepsi’s inferiority as a beverage to Coke, this imposes a real hardship on Day Pitney lawyers. There’s a reason why bartenders or waiters apologetically ask, in response to requests for a Coke, “Is Pepsi okay?” But still, it’s a nice gesture by Day Pitney. And every new customer counts. Maybe DP will represent the “tipping point” in Pepsi’s war with Coke.
It’s not about sending a few sheckles to Pepsi; it’s a nod to your client that you understand the value of their brand. Hey, it’s a really simple concept: if you want to represent Pepsi you can’t drink Coke. If you were the underdog brand to Coke, you’d expect EVERY VENDOR, including your law firm, to drink Pepsi products at work, and at home. In fact, if you want to win the FedEx RFP, I suggest that you don’t send the response via UPS … I don’t care what your corporate rate is. And when you go to the Gucci beauty contest, it’s okay to charge a new purse to the marketing department. Just make sure that your kids play with it for a couple hours to break it in. Oh, and you might want to leave the Gap jeans at the hotel when you go in to meet the Levi’s folks, I don’t care how comfy they are, and besides, you wore a jacket over the label. They can identify their products, and their competitors! And I really suggest you empty the Hershey Kisses from the secretary’s candy jar before the Nestle clients come in for a visit. And, by the way, they own Arrowhead, so go ahead and enjoy that Perrier, or their chief competitor, San Pellegrino for that matter. And, if you’re throwing out the opening pitch for the Nationals home game opener, you might want to leave the Sox cap in your pocket. As lay people, we might see this protection of one’s brand as silly. But when your brand is valued in the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS it no longer seems so silly. It’s BIG BUSINESS … and, isn’t that what we legal marketers are always preaching: KNOW AND UNDERSTAND YOUR CLIENTS’ BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. That includes their brands! All of them. So, clean out your closets, refrigerators and candy dishes and do a little shopping and proudly support your clients’ brands.